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Map of the last ancient forests of North America

Background - 1 August, 2005
Coniferous forests without end meet the treeless tundra in the north of the continent. The trees here are among the tallest and oldest in the world. The habitats of about two thirds if the 140,000 species of plants, animals and micro-organisms found in Canada are tied to this ancient forest.

Old growth coastal forest.

But timber companies clearcut whole areas of land to obtain pulp tomake paper. As a result, soils erode and rivers silt up. The plunder inthe US forests has gone even further with 94 percent of originalforests lost forever.

Two thirds of the regions forests and woodlands are in large tractsof potentially intact ancient forests, that areas 20,000 hectares orlarger. The majority of these are located in the northern most regionsof the continent in Canada and Alaska. They consist of a mix of forestsand tundra. Forests of the lower 48 states in the US are relativelyfragmented with only 20 percent of forest cover remaining in large,potentially intact blocks. Most of them are located in the RockyMountains and the coastal range of the Pacific Northwest.

copyright 2002 Greenpeace/Global Forest Watch

Potentially intact ancient forest, >50,000 heactares

Other forests

Sources: Current forest cover,University of Maryland Transportation grid, Canada: DMTI, US: USGeological Service, Alaska: Chartr of the World

Potentially intact ancient forest, Global Forest Watch